What should I do at the scene of an accident?
First, keep in mind that leaving the scene of an accident is a felony. It’s your responsibility to stay at the scene, contact law enforcement and exchange insurance information with any other involved motorists.
Your top priority is to make sure the scene is safe. If anyone is injured, call an ambulance and assist if you are trained to do so. If possible, make sure your vehicle is not blocking traffic or otherwise creating a hazard for other motorists.
Discuss the accident with law enforcement and other motorists if necessary, but stick to the facts of what happened. Take note if another driver admits fault for the accident. If you have a camera, take pictures of any property damage and visible injuries, as well as skid marks and other evidence at the accident scene. Get contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
You need to report the accident to your insurance company promptly; otherwise, they may deny your claim. Again, stick to the facts, and don’t say anything pertaining to fault or liability. Contact Ardalan & Associates as soon as possible, and politely direct any further requests for comment to your attorney.
Do I need to see a doctor after I’m involved in an accident?
Absolutely. Even if you feel fine, you need to see a medical professional as soon as possible. We’ve handled many cases involving accident victims who thought they were fine, only to realize that they had an internal injury that took time to become readily apparent. Your health should be your first priority, and getting checked out by a doctor is the only way to be sure you are healthy.
Seeing a medical professional right away also helps to protect your legal rights. If you wait too long, an insurance company may argue that your injuries were suffered after the accident. They might also argue that you are partially responsible for your medical bills due to your delay in seeking treatment.
The driver who hit me was on his phone. Can you help?
Talking on the phone or texting while driving is illegal in California, and it absolutely constitutes a type of negligence that could make the other driver liable for your injuries. During our investigation, we’ll consult any applicable documentation, such as police reports and phone records, and interview witnesses who may be able to testify that the driver was indeed on his phone. We’ll explore every avenue to make sure you receive fair compensation.
How can an attorney help me prove that the other driver was at fault?
Accidents happen for many reasons, and every one leaves evidence. We’ll listen to your account of what happened, then carefully investigate the accident scene and surrounding documentation to find that evidence. For instance, a lack of skid marks may show that the other driver was asleep at the wheel and failed to brake. Our legal team will interview witnesses, pore over police reports and pursue every other lead to help us stand up for you.
Can I file my own claim? Do I really need to pay for an attorney?
In principle, yes, you can file your own claim – but we don’t recommend it. The process of getting compensation for an auto accident is quite complicated, especially if multiple insurance companies are involved, and missing a deadline or misfiling paperwork could affect your legal rights. Moreover, the insurance companies themselves have counsel, and their lawyers and adjusters are paid well to reduce or deny claims. Having an attorney on your side will help you counter their arguments and protect your rights.
Car accidents can cause many types of financial loss, including lost wages, medical expenses, future earning potential, pain and suffering and more. In order to really be made whole after an accident, you’ll need an attorney from our firm working on your behalf to explore every possible avenue of compensation. Otherwise, you may end up settling for significantly less than you need.
Should I answer questions for insurance adjusters?
An adjuster’s job is to advocate for the insurance company, not for you. Any information you give to an adjuster will be used for the purpose of reducing or denying your claim. You do need to speak directly to your insurance company to report the accident, but beyond that initial conversation, you shouldn’t answer questions from an adjuster, attorney or any other representative of the insurance company. Instead, get one of our attorneys on your side, and direct anyone seeking comment to talk to your lawyer.
When should I accept a settlement after my accident?
It’s standard procedure for insurance adjusters to offer a “lowball” settlement shortly after an accident. We understand that it’s tempting to just take the money and try to move on, but you’re likely to find that it doesn’t cover the full cost of an accident. Instead, we recommend waiting until you have completed your medical treatment and are declared healthy by a doctor. It can be hard to move through this lengthy process, but with one of our compassionate attorneys on your side, you’ll be prepared for the road ahead.
Our Law Firm is Here to Guide You on the Road Ahead
Car accidents happen fast, and they can happen to anyone. We’re here to help you pick up the pieces and put your life back together after being injured in an accident.
This general information should give you an idea of what you need to do after being hurt in a car accident. For information on your individual case, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Woodland Hills car accident lawyer. Call (888) 259-5861.